Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash
Everyone is creative. We often think of creativity in reference to artists, whether musical or fine art, however, creativity is inherent in each of us. Some of us are more connected to our creativity than others and these people may experience more ease of expression. In their 1998 journal, Understanding Creativity, John S. Dacey and Kathleen H. Lennon identified creativity as something that all people possess to some degree, and something that grows and develops over time. There is much research to support the connection between creativity and mental health, however, more information is becoming available with regard to the connection between creativity and physical health. Dacey and Lennon quote, “the concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self-actualizing, fully human person seem to be coming closer and closer together, and may perhaps turn out to be the same thing".
Creativity + Mental Health
Significant research has been conducted on the connection between creativity and mood disorders. Some of the greatest authors, musicians, artists, poets, etc. battled with mental illness to varying degrees. Vincent van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, Frida Kahlo all battled with mental health issues, and they used creative processes as an outlet to cope. What was produced as a result went on to become some of the greatest artistic contributions the world has ever received. Recently, many music artists have started opening up about mental health and sharing some of their personal struggles. Artists like Adele, Ariana Grande, Big Sean, Billie Eilish, Halsey, James Blake, Justin Bieber, Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, and many more have expressed their personal battles with mental health and many turn to music as a means to cope.
Research supports that finding creative outlets whether through music, art, movement, writing, etc. is an effective means for both coping and healing various mental health conditions. In previous articles, we have explored ways in which music can help to relieve anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental disturbance. We will continue to shine a light on these topics as more research becomes available.
Creative Expression and Physical Health
There is still more research to be done regarding the connection between creative expression and physical health. Of the existing research, we can conclude that our creative expression can influence our physical health in various ways. A journal from Syracuse University identifies self-esteem as a key factor in the connection between creativity and physical health. They quoted in their studies that, "self-esteem provided a path through which creativity and general health were indirectly related. Self-esteem acted as a mediator in this model and showed one way that creativity could be related to overall health and quality of life". In this particular study, self-esteem is identified as an indicator of influence on physical health because when our self-esteem is high, we take better care of ourselves.
In Eastern medicine and ancient Hindu traditions, this connection between creativity and health is established through the chakra system. The word chakra means "wheel" in Sanskrit and refers to energy points in the body. The chakra system is comprised of a series of wheels or vortices that exist within the energetic anatomy of the human body. Of the seven main chakras, the sacral chakra connects us to our creativity and when unbalanced can result in various behaviors or in extreme cases, various forms of disease or illness. The sacral chakra is located in the pelvic region of the body and is responsible for our creative and sexual expression. Our chakras can become unbalanced, leading them to become overactive, under-active, and even blocked. When this happens we can experience various symptoms. In the case of the sacral chakra, when it is in balance, we experience creative energy, ease of creative expression, pleasure, joy, and healthy sexuality. When it becomes unbalanced or blocked we may experience creative blocks or repressed/hyper creative energy, self-doubt, shame, guilt and repressed or overactive sexual energy.
As humans, it is part of our nature to create. This creativity can be expressed as procreation but the second chakra energy is certainly not limited to making babies. When we cook, bake, or garden, we are creating. We create when we find a new solution to an old problem. Any time we take raw materials, physical or mental, and transform them into something new, we are using our creative energy. (Michelle Fondin, Chopra)
Though modern science is still working to prove the power and correspondences of the chakra system, many people have experienced the magic first hand. In a Project Immersed panel titled "Music As Medicine", two creators shared their story of physical healing through engaging their craft. Learn more in the video clips below...
Producer / DJ SHIVARASA shares her journey of health and artistry on a throwback Project Immersed panel. SHIVARASA found that by engaging her creativity, she was able to help her body to heal from multiple autoimmune diseases and restore her health to a place of wholeness.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Composer/Artist/Producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith also shares her story with Project Immersed of using her creativity and working with frequencies to heal her body from illness.
Creativity is more than just an urge to make music. It is something that makes us human. It is an integral trait that all human beings possess, and it is our duty to engage it when we feel inspired. Our relationship to our creative endeavors and creative expression hold tremendous power as they can gravely influence our health and well-being. As we continue to explore the power of creativity, we encourage you, our audience, to take your craft seriously and do what you were born to do: create. In conclusion, we leave you with a few ways to further cultivate your creative expression.
Devote time to your creative endeavors each day.
Connect with your inner child by devoting time to play and explore things that make you feel joyful.
Learn more about the connection between the sacral chakra and your creativity. Practice exercises that help to strengthen and balance your sacral chakra to further unlock and unleash your creative energy.
Did this article help you to understand the importance of your creative expression? Let us know @healthandbass :)